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3D printed plane
Nervous fliers might baulk at the idea of taking a trip on a printed plane but there's no faulting the aerodynamics of this aircraft.
The electric-powered aircraft has a two-metre wingspan and a top speed of nearly 100mph but is almost silent in cruise mode.
The entire plane was printed out using a nylon laser sintering machine that builds up objects layer by layer and then fuses them together using a laser. The plane was printed in separate parts and then snapped together.
The Southampton University team that made the plane says the 3D printing approach allows an aircraft to be developed from concept to first flight in days. In comparison, manufacturing a plane using conventional materials and manufacturing techniques, such as composites, would normally take months and require expensive tools.
The plane's elliptical wind shape is modelled on that of the famous World War II plane the Spitfire, according to professor Andy Keane of Southampton University, who said the laser sintering process removed the complexity and cost of manufacturing an elliptical wing using traditional methods.
Photo: University of Southampton